Kaylee Tantrum (17) was backpaid just over $1000 for work that was not assigned to her because her rostering documentation was falsified without her knowledge.
Kaylee, who works at a McDonald's restaurant in a food court in Wellsford told Unite union organiser Gary Cranston that she was instructed to write her signature on an availability form that was later found to have a minimum hours of work per week written on it, as if she had agreed to this prior to signing it.
"I was instructed to sign it before the new number was written there." - "I signed my new form before the new security of hours (4) was written there. I also did not agree to 4 hours being my security of hours. I have enough time for my studies and would never have agreed to make my hours 4 for this reason." - Kaylee Tantrum
To make things worse, once contacted by email by Unite union, the Restaurant Manager, Mr Rajinder Singh attempted to hold an unscheduled private meeting with Ms Tantrum without a support person present. Mr Singh told Ms Tantrum that she was incorrect and that her number had been "miscalculated". He then went on to deny having received Unite's email raising the matter, claiming that his McDonald's email address wasn't working.
In Kaylee's case her number was changed without her consent, agreement or knowledge and this resulted in a significant drop in her weekly rostered hours for a number of months as they were then cut below what her weekly secure hours number should have been set to. This meant that Kaylee had to be available for shifts at short notice in an attempt to stop her income from dropping.
Such "security of hours" numbers were introduced by Unite union as part of the outlawing of Zero Hour contracts at McDonald's in 2015. Unfortunately it isn't the first time we've discovered workers having their secure hours manipulated without their (required) consent.
"We have discovered many cases of McDonald's workers having their guaranteed hours number changed by store management without the knowledge or agreement of workers" said Mr Cranston. "This seems to have been done in order to drive down worker's secure hours per week, giving store management increased control over a worker's income and leverage over worker's rostering arrangements that used to be enabled by zero hour contracts."
While Unite union is proud to announce that we have since secured 100% guaranteed hours for workers in this year's contract negotiations (it was previously a guarantee of o80% of hours worked prior) this is still dependent on accurate record keeping and good faith based arrangements between workers and store management because workers and management can mutually agree to change a worker's guaranteed (minimum) hours of work per week.
Several other workers have come forward saying that the same thing happened to them since and Unite union is pursuing these complaints.
If you work at McDonald's and suspect that store management have altered your secure hours number without your consent you should contact your Unite union organiser immediately.
"We will be pursuing all cases of falsification of worker's guaranteed hours numbers as cases of fraud going forward", said Mr Cranston.
A 19 year old Unite union member has reclaimed over $1200 in backpay after complaining that she wasn't rostered at all, for three weeks in a row.
Stacey, who works at a McDonald's in West Auckland should have been rostered 24.5 hours per week under the secure hours system in the collective agreement, but was removed from the roster at her store after trying to reduce her availability to work for McDonald's because she secured a second job.
This sort of thing used to be more common with fast food companies casually making dramatic cuts to worker's hours or taking them off the roster completely in response to worker's wanting to reduce their availability to work for them. Now workers can reclaim backpay if they are rostered less than their secure hours number. This has led to many unite union members reclaiming backpay and rostered hours this year.
Unite union members and delegates working at McDonald's are advised to keep a close eye on their secure hours numbers and understand their rights to reclaim backpay if they are rostered less than that number. Unite members should also contact their organiser if they suspect that their secure hours number has been arbitrarily changed without their agreement.
Unite union is now taking legal action against McDonald's for failing to follow legislation introduced to ban the use of Zero Hour contracts in New Zealand. The union has found that McDonald's are putting many new staff on three-hour minimum contracts and refusing to pay compensation for being available to work additional shifts as required by the law. The company is are also refusing to offer hours to existing staff before hiring new staff.
Well done Stacey.
Fast Food Organiser
West Auckland & Northland
029 4555 979
Unite union has made a public appeal for Ronald Mcdonald to make contact about dramatic cuts in his hours of work.
“There are many media reports that, due to the “creepy clown” phenomenon, McDonalds has dramatically cut back on Ronald’s hours of work" said Unite National Secretary Gerard Hehir (see Radio New Zealand: McDonalds not clowning around ).
McDonalds committed to Unite last year that all their workers being guaranteed at least 80% of their usual hours each week. We are asking McDonalds to confirm that they will honour this agreement with Ronald. The creepy clown craze is not Ronald’s fault and he should not have to go back to a zero hours contract and suffer because of it.”